Cuomo taps Gertler to head Empire State Development Corp.

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Eric Gertler, a veteran publisher and Manhattan technology executive, was nominated to succeed Buffalo developer Howard Zemsky as leader of New York State’s lead economic development agency.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that Gertler, chairman of U.S. News & World Report, is his pick to become the next president and CEO of Empire State Development Corp. Gertler, who has been on the ESB board since June 2018, would begin his new leadership role on Sept. 3 subject to state Senate approval.

"Eric is an innovative leader who spent decades at the intersection of business, media and government — making him uniquely suited to run our chief economic development and tourism agency," Cuomo said in a statement.

Zemsky, who announced plans to step down earlier this year, will remain involved with the ESD as chairman. In his four and half years leading ESD, Zemsky drove many economic development policies including shaping the second phase of Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative.

Prior to his current role with U.S. News & World Report, Gertler spent two years as co-publisher and co-chairman of the New York Daily News from 2015 to 2017. Gertler has also overseen Manhattan-based Ulysses Ventures, a multi-strategy investment fund.

Gertler previously was an executive vice president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation as well as managing director of the Center for Economic Transformation under mayors Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio. He spearheaded New York City's $150 million life science fund and oversaw development of the City's tech platform

“I have boundless faith in the economic potential of New York State, and I look forward to supporting Governor Cuomo in further strengthening our dynamic economy for this and future generations,” Gertler said in a statement. “As we continue to attract business investment, stimulate new industry, reinforce our existing infrastructure and invest in workforce development, we will build on New York State's legacy as one of the nation's most decisive economic engines."

Prior to entering government service, Gertler was a CEO at multiple technology companies including Altruik, PrimeAxis Media and Privista. He graduated from Brown University and received a law degree from American University.

Gertler is poised to take over an agency that has been one of the nation’s top municipal bond issuers this year. ESD ranked ninth in the country with $1.54 billion of debt sold in the first months of the year through five deals, according to Refinitiv. The bulk of ESD’s borrowing occurred in a competitive transaction in January that featured $1.3 billion of Urban Development Corp. tax revenue bonds.

"I have worked closely with Eric as a board member and have complete confidence that he is the right person to lead the critical work of ESD,” Zemsky said in a statement. “His experience, insight and understanding of both New York and the business community will be of enormous benefit to his work at ESD and to the State.”

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